As we move through life, we inevitably change, grow, get bored, explore, move on to new things... I find that for myself, I love change, I get bored easily, and I love to discover new inspiration and new, exciting things. For me lately, that's been a beginning dip into the realm of hip-hop. It's been exciting to hear new sounds, find new personalities, and get into a whole part of culture that I've never really been exposed to much before.
One of the most compelling artists I've run across so far, both musically and personally, is Shawn Carter, more widely known as Jay-Z. I'm not going to go into all his story, as you can easily find that elsewhere (here, here and here are good starts), but suffice it to say, I think he's a brilliant person, not to mention an amazing artist.
Here are the lyrics to the above song (using one verse and the chorus from Alphaville's "Forever Young"):
Let’s dance in style,Forever young,
Let’s dance for a while,
Heaven can wait we’re only watching the skies
Hoping for the best but expecting the worst,
Are you gonna drop the bomb or not?
Let us die young or let us live forever,
We don’t have the power but we never say never,
Sitting in a sandpit,
Life is a short trip,
The music’s for the sad man
I wanna be forever young
Do you really want to live forever?
Forever and ever
Forever young I wanna be
Do you really want to live forever?
[Jay-Z Ad Lib]
May the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows, but we ain't even thinking that far, you know what I mean?
So we livin' life like a video
When the sun is always out and you never get old
and the champagne’s always cold
and the music is always good
and the pretty girls just happen to stop by in the hood
and they hop their pretty ass up on the hood of dat pretty ass car
without a wrinkle in today
cuz there is no tomorrow
just some picture perfect day
that lasts a whole lifetime
and it never ends
cos all we have to do is hit rewind
so lets just stay in the moment, smoke some weed,
drink some wine,
reminisce talk some shit forever young is in your mind
leave a mark they can’t erase neither space nor time
so when the director yells cut,
I’ll be fine,
I’m forever young…
Fear not when, fear not why,
fear not much while were alive,
life is for living not living uptight,
Until you're somewhere up in the sky,
fear not die, I’ll be alive for a million years, bye byes
Are not for legends, I’m forever young
my name shall survive
through the darkest blocks, over kitchen stoves,
over Pyrex pots, my name shall be passed down to generations while debating up in barber shops,
young slung, hung here,
Showed that a nigga from here
with a little ambition just what we can become here,
and as the father passed his story down to his sons ears,
younger get younger every year, yeah
so if you love me baby this is how you let me know.
don’t ever let me go, that's how you let me know, baby
Slammin' Bentley doors,
hoppin' out of Porsches,
popping up on Forbes' list,
niggas thought I lost it,
they be talking bullshit
I be talking more shit
I'll be here forever
you know, I’m on my four shit,
and I ain’t with foreclosure, I will never forfeit,
less than four bars,
Guru bring the chorus in,
did you get the picture yet,
I’m painting you a portrait of Young…
Some thoughts: I look at this song as a progression - a progression in life and a progression in attitude, and a progression in perception. I see the first verse as being a bit tongue-in-cheek from his position - but also a realization that this kind of a picture of life is appealing, and that we all hold this kind of view, even if subconsciously, when we're young.
I think the second verse brings a lot of the meat of the song - and helps to define what his idea of living forever is. You make a difference in the world big enough that you never leave. In his case, part of that difference is to show that a poor kid from Brooklyn who grows up with a broken family, dealing crack from his teenage years can turn his life around, make something of himself, grow as a person, and ultimately be an example for other another generation of people starting out where he was.
I think the third verse has to do with people feeling like he 'sold out' because he got rich, famous, etc - but that he is still as serious about what he was serious about, that he's living in order to set an example (this is a theme throughout his music - including the name of the album this song is on - The Blueprint).
I just find this fantastic, because he has a unique place to speak to some people who really need to know that they can figure out who they are and do something with it. For that matter, most people in the world need to hear that at some point in their lives.
I think we all want to be remembered for how we changed the world, here's motivation to not slack off.